AG Kane Seeks Rebates, Punitive Action in Wake of Winter Electric Price Spikes

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LAFLIN - If you were one of those people who saw your electric rates increase drastically over the winter after you switched companies, you may be in for some money.

The State Attorney General has filed complaints against five alternative electric suppliers.

Part of the penalty could be restitution and refunds for some of the thousands who feel they got ripped off.

Kurt Kienle locked up his home in Laflin, turned the thermostat down, and headed to Florida for a few weeks.

When he returned in March he opened up two months of electric bills.

"And I saw the prices, and I said, `This is not right," said the retired pharmacist.

Kienly had recently signed up with the alternative energy provider "Pennsylvania Gas and Electric," for a variable rate program that promised to save him money

For awhile, he said he enjoyed modest savings.

Then he got his winter bills, and the variable rates went up.

February's bill was $774.

January's bill was $1,201

Normally Kurt said he paid about $300 a month during the winter.

"This isn`t right. There`s no way," said Kienle.  "Even if we left everything on in the house, I thought, there's no reason it should be this high."

Keith filed a complaint with the State Attorney General's office in March.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has announced, "We received thousands of complaints from consumers who...were deceived and we are taking those who participated in the deception to task."

Kane targeted Pennsylvania Gas and Electric, its parent company Energy Service Providers, IDT Energy, Respond Power, Hiko Energy, and Blue Pilot Energy.

The Attorney General wants the state's Public Utilities Commission to order these companies to pay fines or rebates.

Kane also called for the PUC to consider suspending or revoking these companies' licenses to do business in Pennsylvania.

"I'm glad that they were found out, so to speak," said Kienle, who no longer is a customer of Pennsylvania Gas and Electric.  "And I feel sorry for a lot of people on fixed incomes who can't afford this."

The Attorney General's office is continuing its investigation, looking at claims from some who say they were signed up by these alternative electric suppliers without their permission.

In the meantime, it's too soon to tell when and if customers will receive rebates, as the legal action is still in its early stages.



    The DEVIL is ***** ALWAYS***** in THE DETAILS ! I told my Mom she should of got fixed price, her rates went through the roof also, I said Mom you need to ask questions etc. when shopping for Electric service.

    Now perhaps these suppliers could warn people a little better and remind then they could spike radically also, so people are a but more informed of the roller coaster of variable rate.

  • jim

    Isn’t it nice that AG Kane (D) is actually going to enforce this law? Pick and choose….she’s ( the D) been in hot water for a few months, it’s time to do something for the people ( D and R and I )…..and maybe they (D,R,and I) will forget all the garbage she ( the D) has done so far. Everything she (D) does is calculated to benefit her own (D) career.

  • keith

    variable rate means prices will rise.
    people really need to be held responsible for there own actions. im sick and tired of people enjoying the benefit, then crying when rates skyrocket. if you didnt read the terms, that is your fault.

    People never learn


      Variable rater in my opinion = LEGAL BAIT AND SWITCH !

      Bait people with low rate to sucker them, then RAISE IT THROUGH THE ROOF !

  • Hank Anderson

    I signed with different companies since Pa. first had a choice. Always with a fixed rate. Oct. 2013 was approached by Respond Power with a fixed rate of .087 fixed for 6 months. We are on a yearly budget plan, so when the plan amount went up a little I never gave it much thought since was so cold and told my wife pay it. Never looked at the bill. Second one, I looked and got out my contract. Rate, term, fixed or variable boxes all left blank. I filed a complaint with P.U.C. and was immediately dropped by Respond. Damage was done. I had three bills…each over the following estimate $1000, $1200, $1400. I paid over $1200 of this and was still cut off by PP&L. while I was away. I called, explained that my complaint was still unresolved with P.U.C. and was turned back on with an apology.

  • marbs

    People left PP&L in droves figuring they would save a few dollars a month. IF you signed up for a variable rate (after the 3 or 6 month teaser rate) without reading the contract you rolled the dice and lost. Had it been a mild winter you would have seen lower rates, unfortunately it was a bad winter and companies (who also gambled by not locking in rates from power producers) also lost and had to pay higher prices for power. I stayed with PP&L Energy plus and I paid a fixed rate all winter. My bills went up a bit because I used more in the sub zero weather but not that I got upset about.

    The State needs to set a cap like other states do on the variable rate electric providers, PA dropped the ball on this when they passed legislation allowing alternate power providers. I think they are looking at that now but you will pay more in the summer as the supplier will look to preserve a cushion to insure a profit.

    IF you were switched without your knowledge or switched deceptively (I still get these calls and the language could easily make one think they are from PP&L) You deserve a full refund of your power charges and the State needs to fine these companies out of existence.

    ALL senior citizens should take advantage of the service offered by PP&L that a third party ( relative, trusted friend etc) be informed of any changes to their account or delinquency. Unfortunately seniors can be vulnerable and these companies know it.

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